This Sunday’s Blogchat on Twitter focused on the subject of how many posts one should shoot for to build and maintain an audience.
I try for a post a day, but I usually don’t make that. I don’t sweat it, anymore. If I don’t feel like I have anything to say that’s actually worth your time, I’d prefer to wait a day until I do rather than just posting something I’m not happy with just so I have something to post.
I call it “respecting my audience.”
That’s not to say, of course, that everything I post actually is worth reading; but hey, I try to make an effort!
During the chat, many debated the issue of quantity over quality. This floored me. Some people actually think it’s more important to post on a rigid schedule even if you’re posting inferior work.
On the other hand, a handful might go too far to the other extreme, shooting down any regular schedule of posting and only adding content occasionally when they feel it’s “perfect.”
Reality — and success — is probably found somewhere in the middle. But definitely closer to the quality side than the quantity side.
Years ago, on a writing blog I had over on Blogger, I got into a needlessly prolonged debate with a fellow writer who insisted on insisting that everyone who wanted to be a writer just had to write every day.
I don’t believe in “no exceptions.” I don’t like “zero tolerance.”
Because I honestly believe there are occasions in which it’s actually okay to take a day off from writing. (Or anything else.) If you really feel like you need to.
To me, we humans are emotional animals. We get happy, sad, proud, stubborn. And sometimes, we get frustrated.
For those of us who write professionally — in one medium or another — frustration can often be a great motivator to churn out good writing.
But frustration can also be the result of attempting to churn out good writing and failing miserably. And trying again. And failing again. And getting more frustrated.
You get the idea.
For some of us who write professionally, and others of us who wish to some day, we have to remind ourselves that writing, like anything else, is work. There aren’t many jobs out there that don’t offer vacation. There are employees who genuinely love what they do yet somehow manage to take an occasional day away from the office.
Writing really isn’t any different.
If you want to write and you feel like you must write every single day, without fail, to be good at writing, then do it. Write every single day. And make yourself feel like the worst ounce of scum at the bottom of a barrel if there is ever a day that you fail to write something.
Good luck with that.
But if you want to write and you want to strive to improve your skills, I’m giving you a little dose of permission here: when you are frustrated and feel like you can’t write another word, get up from the computer. Go pick up a book and read. See how another writer dealt with another story. Or go watch a movie. Or go listen to a symphony. Or go take a nice walk, smell some roses and just enjoy a day.
Call it a “mental health day.” You’re entitled.
The number of new ideas you’ll receive will surprise you.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to set out to make yourself write every day. That’s discipline and that’s a good thing. But even the most fit athletic trainers have a little ice cream once in a while.
It’s okay, now and then, to go have a hot fudge sundae.